(Removes reference to tie-up with Turkish airlines and adds spokesman in paragraph 6 to clarify)
* Cargo head says would welcome closer cooperation
* Wants to broaden access to some Asian markets
* Lufthansa Cargo sees capacity rising 1-2 percent in 2013
By Marilyn Gerlach
FRANKFURT, March 21 (Reuters) - Lufthansa’s cargo unit would welcome any greater cooperation with Turkish Airlines , its chief executive said on Thursday.
Lufthansa, Europe’s biggest airline in terms of sales, and Turkish Airlines, the world’s fastest growing airline, already have code share agreements and jointly operate charter carrier SunExpress.
The two airlines held talks on strengthening ties late last year, but they have so far not announced any deals, and Lufthansa said last week it was not working on any specific projects.
Karl Ulrich Garnadt, Lufthansa Cargo’s Chief Executive said Lufthansa Cargo would like to have greater cooperation with Turkish Airlines.
“It is an interesting story. We will examine that in the future,” he said.
Matthias Eberle, a spokesman for Lufthansa’s cargo unit, said it was not pursuing a tie-up with Turkish Airlines or seeking talks with the airline on any cooperation.
Lufthansa Cargo expects to hike its freight capacity by 1-2 percent this year, pinning its hopes on growth in Germany, the Asia-Pacific region and the United States, as it slowly rebounds form a slump in 2012 when it scaled back capacity by 8.2 percent.
Its market outlook chimes with that of the International Air Transport Association, which expects worldwide cargo traffic to improve by 2.7 percent this year, up from a previous forecast of 1.4 percent.
Rival Cathay Pacific, the world’s largest international air cargo carrier, recently said it does not yet see a lasting recovery in the freight market, after reporting an 83 percent year-on-year drop in profit for 2012. (Editing by Matthew Tostevin)